Cal Football: Ten Years Of Tedford Roundtable

via SF Chronicle

A decade and a day ago, this happened.

In his first moments on the job as Cal's 32nd football coach, [Jeff] Tedford was quick to outline his vision: "to get to where we're competing for the Pac-10 championship and at the national level."

That long journey began yesterday at a news conference at Memorial Stadium.

Tedford, a coach for 15 years, takes over a team that was 1-10 this season. He inherits a program that hasn't had a winning season since 1993 and hasn't represented the conference in the Rose Bowl since Jan. 1, 1959. Tedford does it with a simple commitment to hard work and team values.

"Our team will be disciplined, our team will play hard," he said. "They will play fast, they will play smart. They will have a lot of fun, but they will do it with class."

For the most part, for ten years, his teams have fit those qualities. And the way things are looking, I have a feeling the remainder of his teams here will embody all these attributes.

Regardless what you think of this coach (and I know a lot of you think a lot of different things), a decade in college football is an eternity these days. Tedford will likely be the longest-tenured coach in Cal football history when all is said and done, and he should be able to break the all-time record for most wins as leader of the Golden Bears.

Here in this thread, we reflect on how we thought of things at the beginning, and how far we've come from there. Here's to another ten Coach.

What were your original thoughts on the hiring of Tedford? Did you know anything about him? What were the reactions from other people you knew? Were any of you optimistic that he would be the one to turn Cal around?

TwistNHook: Although I had only missed 1 home game in years at that point, I have no recollection of where I was or what I thought when Tedford was hired.

I don't think I'd ever seen Cal win more than 4 games in my career at that point. To me, college football wasn't about winning. That was what other teams did. To me, college football was about going to the game, having fun with your friends, and sweating a lot in the afternoon sun (no evening or even later afternoon start times!).

This is also now how I feel as an A's fan.

solarise: I had high hopes for Tedford replacing Holmoe. Really, things couldn't have been any worse after 1-10. Students and alumni clamored for change. Tedford was the man Gladstone wanted. Billed as the offensive mind behind Mike Bellotti's Oregon Ducks, Coach Tedford brought respect and success back to the Golden Bears. I recalled the first offensive play of the 2002 season - backward pass from Kyle Boller to Terrell Williams to David Gray for a TD. That play rekindled my long dormant passion for football excellence at Memorial.

There is still work to do after a decade. I salute our all-time winningest coach for the program he is running and for the athletes he has molded into fine upstanding citizens. Thank you Coach Tedford. See you on the sidelines of the Rose Bowl January 1st, 201*.

CALumbus Bear: I had no idea who this new coach was when he was hired, as I was busy convincing myself we were a basketball school. However, when I stumbled upon the Cal-Michigan State game in 2002, and I saw us beat the crap out of a ranked team on the road, I quickly learned about Tedford. That game re-ignited my passion for Cal football. After getting together with Ohio Bear to watch Cal FINALLY take back the Axe later that season, I began to think this coach was pretty durn good. Turns out I was wrong: he is an excellent coach. I praise Oski we hired him, and I hope he stays many more years (and, of course, gets us to at least one Rose Bowl).

Kodiak: Amidst the smoldering detritus of the Holmoe era, I think athletic director Steve Gladstone could have announced that he was going to hold a Madden 2001 tournament to find the next coach and it would have been met with, "well, why not?" The rumor was that Marvin Lewis was our first choice, so when Jeff Tedford was announced, there was a resounding cry of, "who?" But when it was explained that he had been Oregon's offensive coordinator, I became cautiously optimistic. After all, Oregon had been putting 30-40 points up on everybody and their quarterback had gone from an unknown to a Heisman candidate.

Juggling my residency and attending Cal football games was a tough call those days, particularly during the 1-10 season. It really wasn't the easiest sell to get Mrs. Kod to agree to attend the home opener with me. Fortunately, we were newlyweds, so she was still pretending that my Cal lunacy was somewhat endearing. It's amazing how many emotional highlights there were in that first season. Besides the trick halfback option to blow open the gates, there was the "72,000? Disappointed fans!" locker room cheer when we upset Michigan State on the road. I remember a game where we needed to run out the clock, but there was too much time remaining for consecutive kneel-downs. Instead of punting, Tedford had Boller throw backwards to Makonnen. The opposing team couldn't get to him and time expired. I remember yelling, "Wow!??! Who does that? Who even thinks of that? Who even practices that? We've got a coach!!!"

Besides a flicker of competence during much-too-short Snyder era, that year was the first time amidst 20+ years of watching Cal football where our team looked well-coached and competitive. Sure, there have been some hiccups over the past few years. But "bad" years during the Tedford era would have been cause for backflips in almost any other decade. He's a good man, a class act, and I'm glad that he's our coach. Happy 10th, Coach. Here's hoping the next 10 comes with Roses and a permanent lease on the Axe.

norcalnick: For a little historic perspective, it's worth mentioning that Cal has never had a coach stay longer than a decade. Andy Smith coached for 10 years and would have stayed much, much longer had he not passed away, and Pappy Waldorf probably could have stayed beyond 10 years under different circumstances. But the fact remains that Jeff Tedford will next year claim the title of longest tenured coach in Cal history to add to his title of winningest coach in Cal history.

It's a tribute to his efforts that the Bears are immeasurably better off in 2011 than they were in 2001 - a new stadium, new facilities, new expectations. 10 years ago a bowl was a wildly successful season. Now a bowl is a baseline minimum.
Following the Bears over the last 10 years has been incredibly fun, and that's something you rarely said before Tedford. Thanks, coach.

ragnarok: To put Tedford's stability in further perspective, not only is he the Dean of Pac-12 coaches, but consider than in the past 10 years, Stanford and Washington have each run through 4 coaches, UCLA and Washington State have each run through three coaches and have just hired a fourth, and counting interim coaches, RichRod is Arizona's fifth head coach since Tedford was hired in 2001.
Moreover, no academic scandals since the Holmoecaust!

LeonPowe: My story is a little bit different than most here, since I was overseas for Mariucci and Holmoe, so I never got to experience first hand the horrors of the Holmoe era - except for one or two Big Games here and there, I was mostly insulated from the day-to-day reality of how bad Cal football was. Sure I would listen to a few games a year via at 4am, but with a very different internet community then (mainly and the Go Bears listserv), I wasn't as active a follower of Cal sports then as I am now.

So when we hired Tedford, I shrugged my shoulders and thought - well, a few more seasons of 4-7 football - because who knew? The last two highly regarded offensive coordinators from PAC 10 programs we hired before Tedford were Gilbertson and Mooch, so at that point - well big things weren't expected. Besides, we were Cal - we NEVER mattered in football.

Flash-forward 10 years later - and Cal football matters again. From the highs of Baylor, 72,000 disappointed fans, Aaron Rodgers and Reggie Robertson, 2004 and 2006, some low points - the strange 2007 half-played season, Ayoob's first 20 passes, last year's defeat by USC, this year by UCLA, but at least Cal football matters. Matters enough to be trolled and argued over on the internets. This is an upgrade! Before we were irrelevant, now we're at least someone to argue over. And be proud of. So many great names have passed through the program under Tedford's watch - not just the Rodgers, Lynchs and Jacksons, but the players like Strang, Ta'ufo'ou and Kapp. I am glad Tedford is our coach, and hope he'll be here for a long time.

Cugel: When Tedford was hired, I was pretty happy. The main problem with Bears under Holmoe seemed to be that we had trouble scoring, and I thought he and his offensive schemes would be an improvement. I was hoping just to be respectable, 6-5, maybe 7-4 some seasons, and a 50% - 50% chance of winning the Big Game. Little did I anticipate how good we would get, and how quickly.

I am really glad that he has stuck with us through all the problems with the necessary upgrades to our facilities, when it would have been so much easier to leave for greener pastures. I look forward to another 10 years if he wants to remain.

HydroTech: I had no knowledge of Tedford prior to his hiring and thus had no opinion of him. To me, he was just the Cal Football Coach. He was a name. He had a face. And he had no meaning. But after the first few years at Cal, he became more meaningful to me. He wasn't just the Cal Football Coach any more, he was the savior of the Cal Football program. I looked up to him as a fan, and appreciated what he was doing for our team. I also, of course, appreciate Tedford on a more personal level too. Having spent some time in his program, I have learned a lot about football from watching hundreds of closed practices, and hearing him coach his players. So to me, Jeff Tedford isn't just the Cal Football Coach and somebody I look up to as a fan, but also someone I've looked up to as a mentor and teacher.

I appreciate what Jeff Tedford has done for the Cal Football program. What he does isn't easy. It's often a quite unforgiving job too. It's been a memorable experience to watch his teams, and I hope for many winning seasons to come so I can continue to watch him coach the Bears.

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